'One Child' Policy Weakens Chinese Economy, Expert Says

July 7, 2008 - 8:06 PM

(CNSNews.com) - China's "one-child" per couple population control policy may be costing the Chinese economy billions of dollars, Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said at a lecture in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

During his talk, which was entitled "Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits," Mosher also said the policy has led to a huge unbalance in China's gender ratio, a booming sex trade around its borders and vast human rights abuses in the name of reproductive health.

"By eliminating a couple of hundred million people, China has made itself poorer," Mosher told Cybercast News Service on Friday after speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

"If you crunch the numbers and assume China's economy will continue to grow at the current rate, you see that every baby born in China will add several thousands of dollars to the Gross National Product (GNP) over the course of his or her lifetime," he stated.

"The opposite is also true," added Mosher. "Every birth that is prevented marks a reduction of several thousands of dollars in the GNP over the coming years. Every birth the government in China stops represents a financial blow to the Chinese."

The "one child" policy, which was introduced by Chinese communist officials in 1979, limits most Chinese couples to just one child under the threat of fines, loss of work bonuses, forced sterilization and abortion. Enforcement and some exceptions to the policy vary at the provincial level.

Mosher said that the Chinese government estimates the "one child" policy has prevented around 300 million births since its introduction in 1979. Birth control, family planning, forced sterilization, abortion and infanticide have been used to reach that number, Mosher said.

"There would be 300 million more Chinese alive today if that policy had not been adopted," Mosher said.

Chinese officials in Beijing, however, say the policy has been a success and that without the restrictions, China's population would be too large and poorer.

Even without those 300 million births, the Chinese economy has experienced double-digit growth in recent years. For instance, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, the Chinese economy grew by 10.9 percent in 2007.

Beyond economic consequences, Mosher said that China's cultural preference for males has led to high rates of abortion and infanticide for female babies and that there now exist millions of Chinese men who will not able to find a mate.

"There will be 26 million young Chinese men who will not be able to find brides because their brides were killed in utero," he stated. "Roughly 10 percent of little girls in China never have a chance to draw there first breath."

Mosher said that all the "excess testosterone" has led to spikes in prostitution and a slave trade for women. "Women are scarce, and they are being treated as a commodity," he said.

Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.